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Hard Times

Oscar Gustav Rejlander (British, born Sweden, 1813–1875)

Date:
ca. 1860
Medium:
Albumen silver print from glass negative
Dimensions:
Image: 13.9 x 19.9 cm Frame: 14 x 17 in.
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Courtesy of George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film, Rochester
  • Description

    Titled Hard Times, after Charles Dickens’s novel of 1854, this composite photograph shows an unemployed carpenter sitting hunched with worry in a cramped bedroom while his wife and child sleep peacefully behind him. In this print, which Rejlander labeled “A Spiritistical Photo,” he superimposed a second, ghostly image of the man placing his hand on his wife’s head in benediction as the child prays at their feet—an intervention that elevated an otherwise realistic scenario into the moral and religious domain of high art.

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